Have you ever been too sore to ski?
Have your quads ever felt like they were going to melt?
Did you say it would be different next time?
A good ski and snowboard trip starts months in advance. I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone but the better shape you are in improves your skiing and reduces the chance of injury. The right preparation can make the difference between soreness and success.
In 2004 the club went to Whistler, BC. It snowed a lot and it was a heavy snow. I had been running 6-10 miles per week and doing a lot of leg specific exercises like squats. I was in prime shape. I thought I was ready.
By the third day at Whistler, my legs could not have hurt more.
I was in shape but not the right shape.
So what works? I can’t answer that for everyone but I do know what I’ve done since and what works for me.
I ride my bicycle to get ready and more specifically I ride my single speed bicycle. Why a single speed? With only one gear, I have to stand up to pedal when the slope is over 5% making me work harder. I cannot shift into an easier gear but instead I have to put the work in to turn the pedals over. Pedaling, and especially standing up, is similar to the push you have on the skis with every turn. This may seem silly but as it gets colder I also feel riding helps me get used the cold to come on the slopes.
The second thing I do is walking weighted power lunges. With dumbbells in each hand, 10 steps then wait 10 seconds, 10 steps then wait 10 seconds, 10 steps then wait 10 seconds. Rest 4 minutes then repeat. This exercise works quads, hamstrings, and glutes. The sets and the waiting trains your muscles to recover. Make sure not to let your knees get past your foot on each step or you will hurt your knees. I recommend doing lunges for a while before adding weight.
Planks are the third thing and it really helps prepare for snowboarding. Planks strengthen the core which helps protect other muscles and reduces fatigue when holding the edges.
The fourth exercise that has made a big difference in recent years on the snowboard are burpee box jumps. Core, abs, shoulders, triceps, hamstrings, quads, and glutes are all included with this exercise. If you decide to try burpee box jumps, don’t be cussing me. I didn’t tell you to do them. I only said what works for me.
I’m looking so forward to this ski season.
“If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.” - Warren Miller
“If you don’t do it this year, you’ll wish you did.” - Michael Messimore
Start that couch to downhill program and lets go skiing.